Dev.D – The Invisible Trip

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

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Chanda: It’s good to talk when in Pain.

Dev: What do you know about pain?

The arrogance that is inclusive in all souls battered because of boredom and heightened state of desires manifests in this one form  – PAIN. And the idea that pain is only caused to a chosen few and that the person who understands other’s pain is but a jerk. And what  a jerk Dev is,,, throwing all that is dear to him, all that has loved him, possessed him, butchering all souls who cared to wiff at his pathetic existence to see the kid that wants to candy and is ready to move the mountains for it.

Dev’s story is what I took away from this film, yeah yeah the women, yeah their desires and their prerogatives but cliché’s be dammed, here is the story of the guy that resides in all, just that we all hide it under layers of cushy materialistic baubles that are made objective by societal morals! I love Dev, his existence, his way to sustenance, his eternal lust for love but not knowing what to do with it, his caricature reduced to pity in the eyes of the few that standby and take solace that they are not him and his failure to see till the very end that life has a twisted way to give you everything to just take it away and that’s when it dawns – yeah you don’t need all that.

It pours when it thunders and rains and emotions pour down in the film shrouded less in heady monologues than in soulful background ballads that shout out the emoticons in pentameters… ohh what a soul shouting “Dammed happiness” – but ye olde fool – you have no fucking clue what to do with happiness cos you are not wired for such feelings… all you know is to consume and get consumed,,, to lit the pyre and then jump in, to bend the stick and then collide with it. Why the thrice you ask, cos when you are hit thrice, the numbness just befriends you and that ends all the suffering and sweet pain becomes the elixir. Crap? Yeah… then go tripping!

I loved the film, the 2nd half especially… with no jokes, no intrepid references, no raunchy women… just rowdy existence waiting to self destruct. Dev has the ballz to do it, we don’t – atleast I didn’t. What you are is not when what you become or shine in the world… what you are is what you think and do in times of absolute charring of heart and mind… Dev was charred… once, by a help – by a worthless 2 piece penny that dreamt to snide the queen – he let go of his world then and it took him a long time to become sane again but how the trip is, how the life becomes when you kick away the love is painted in layers. And no one has done it so well in ages like Anurag did. Yes my friend, your genius has come to the forefront… savor it like no other day cos peace is within reach.

Anurag – all the times I heard you regale tales of fiction and passion alike, I stood calm and quiet to make sense. Your pain and angst that we thought we shared through this platform is but a tip of shadow to what I see through Dev and his destruction. Yes you are artist and your art of con is what it is all about (the films I mean) but this time I am drunk in your mastery of art and form that has paraded before my eyes in a giant wave that I never connected to with the voice and words. I am distraught at how easily you did this work in 7hrs (per vasan) and struggle that I will to comprehend the talent that it takes but for now, peace out dear friend. I think you have made the mark with this one and it will be alright from now. The haze will clear and you have’d overcome – drink it up one last time as like Dev did – “Bach gaye yeah zindagi mein ab”!

Aronofsky’s The Wrestler – Review

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

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Passion, Pain and Loneliness – that’s the order that a man is driven when dedicating a life to an Endeavour. A passion grips you when you are young, when you are able and when you can conquer the world. Pain hits you when you realize it’s all but a gift that is cruelly snatched away from you time and again when the body & mind start slipping. And loneliness hits you when you are left with bitterness about your life’s work… when the best that you have done is all but a piece of paper or a sporadic haze of recognition on someone’s face. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

The Wrestler is a movie, true to its hype, comes along once in a while. It’s a movie that has a heart and a soul that shadows a pro-chap wrestler who is trying to regain his life by getting into the ring to do what he is born for – wrestle. Hell-O-Yeah, the body slams and the make believe top rope jumps, they are all there. What is also there in the film is what it takes to do those stunts. What is there is what really happens in the back-room of wrestling arenas. What is there is the pain, the agony that takes to perform what is commonly dismissed as a manufactured sport. What you see in the movie are the humans behind the devils in the spotlight.

Almost 3 yrs since The Fountain which for some was a let down, Darren comes back strong with this one. Some will walk out of this film touched by Mickey Rouke’s performance and for those who know him; you will be TOUCHED by the way he probably portrayed his own self on the screen. Randy “The RAM” Robinson was once a great wrestler, heck, he still is. Only difference is there is a life that he leads too and that ain’t all the velvety.

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Mickey Rourke’s acting is the one thing that for once surpasses even Aronofsky’s’ vision. It’s his film, it’s his body, and it’s his pain that carries the film to connecting with viewers at a very personal level. What Mickey has done to himself all through the film is nothing short of absolute brutality and submission to the character of a wrestler and for that, he is my choice for this years top honors. True, it may not be his true acting poweress that carries the film, but what he has achieved by putting the character first is nothing short of brilliant.

If the movie’s half job was achieved by Mickey, the other half was done by Darren’s amazing sense of locations and setting. It’s New Jersey, the hard New Jersey. Run down towns, cheap strip bars, low-level wrestling pits, community deli’s. A setting that fits the kind of profession that is chose by men living in such hard-places. I lived in a town like that once – gangs, discount stores and gambling dens – retrospectively, I began to think how I survived then. It’s tough in those places and movies in such setting’s really hit you – hit you hard.

Technically speaking, the film hides the effort in that department very effectively. I think I did not see even one stead shot and most of the fights had close-up’s that are technically so difficult to shoot. Clint Mansell does not disappoint especially during the Mickey’s constant battle to cheer himself up during tough times. There is this one scene where Mickey and Marisa Tomasi (Mickey’s stripper confidante) talk about golden 80’s and yucky 90’s. The close-up’s make all the difference.

All in all, The Wrestler is a movie that will over time attain the cult status like most fighter movies. But it’s a relief to see Aronofsky coming out of his comfort zone and making the most brutally honest film of the year; a year that had an overdose of extremely hyper-imaginative films. This will be loved over time till it attains its well deserved cult status. Hopefully it will be sooner. But a watch if you want to see the real and the fake side of rings in which battles however fake, still break the minds and the bodies of those who choose to duel and test their boundaries of their Passion, Pain and Loneliness.  

Trailer Link

Sasirekha Parinayam – Krishnavamsi is BACKK!

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

Ok, I am a hard-core fan of Krishnavamsi. Ever since the day he made Ninne Pelladutha in ‘96 (That’s the time when I turned 12 & started understanding films and another of the first amazing film’s I remember released – Prema Desam) I have remained an ardent fan. I started taking a fancy ever since he made this movie about Seenu and Mahalakshmi. Ever since he decided to cast Tabu in saris and make her shout in her coarse voice – SEEENUUU… Dyamm, pure pure bliss. Even today his movies transport me to a dreamland and makes me remember all those times when I dreamt of walking on the streets of villages in Andhra and hoping to see beautiful girl in half sari calling out my name… burp, ok my real name is just not romantic, its will be like Brooke calling Ridge but … KV (alrite, not as great as K.Vishwath) is one director is I can go watch without absolutely caring who the actors or what the story is.

See, Krishnavamsi makes movies for people like me. He makes telugu films which are well, for telugu middle class every day audience. His music and treatment is very down to earth and ordinary which makes it a joy to sit and watch his story telling time after time. His movies have a magic to them. Think Murrari – Hum Aapke Hain Kuon of Telugu but so so different. So real, so absolutely dreamy. The guy speaks like some of his characters. He names them so matter of factly, no brainstorming needed, no angles… just, Radha Krishna, Sai… so easy.

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So I saw this banner today of his latest in a desi restaurant and digging a little more on it made me sit up and actually decide to wait for the release and watch the film on the d-day. I just got sold with the name. Sasirekha – another classical name! The title comes from the theme of the eternal great Telugu film – Maya Bazar which deals with the very theme of the title – the marriage of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu (ANR) to Sasirekha(Savitri – aaah!). Who can forget ANR rowing those paddles to that great Laahiri Laahiri laahiri Lo! So Tarun (hero of the new film) is no ANR and Genelia is no Savitri and this film is no Maya Bazar but somewhere in the posters and the promos and the stills, somewhere there is a hope that maybe, maybe after long long time, here could be a film that will reignite the magic of old days, of days when telugu movies used to be about illogical parallel comedy tracks and innocent love. Before factions and cellphones overtook simple brazen love stories where boy would invade girl’s exclusive celebrations (think Na Mogudu Rampyaare) and when running in paddy fields along coconut trees used to be so real cute (think Seetharamayya gari manavaralu!!!)

The rumors about the movie is that it a remake of Jab We Met and instead of saying there you go… I am, WAY TO GO! I was puzzled watching Jab We Met. Wrong casting, Illogical ending, bad bad actress! But see, the casting here makes total sense. Tarun has only one expression, of a drunk serious dude. Genelia has a natural flair to be a tomboy. The story is how a successful actress tries to find the balance in her life. And you have a film shot in Andhra and you have Krishna Vamsi peppering it with regular fare of dishum dishums and atta pinni jokes. What else do you need to spend 10 bucks and 3hrs?

On a serious note, Krishna Vamsi is one of the few telugu directors apart from Ramu and Trivikram Srinivas who have(had – you idiot ramu) the flair to capture the mood of the target audience when its needed. Going back to Ninne Pelladutha, 12yrs later, the movie is still a benchmark for quality family fare. Modern, hell Mazda Miata’s pop-up lights never looked so good again on the screen, sauve – Tabu in her classical shyness, and delicate – “kannuloni Roopameeee”, K.Vamsi has a knack of telling a story while leaving a feeling of having the audience want to dream about their fantasy’s, not not just for the front bencher’s. Ramu on the other had the craft and technique – Action Shoes and Purani Haveli roads and boom – the chase is on. Trivikram is younger and he has a tact to combine story telling with swift cuts of dexterity. All in all these guys made my world of watching Telugu films in the last 10yrs.

So the songs of Sasirekha Parinayam are out and on the ride to work today, a particular song “Bejawada” caught my fancy. Slick guitar strings with modern/classical tones mixed, the songs going places. The soundtrack is decent but I will leave it to Tushar, our PFC resident music critic to judge the virtues but all in all a great package.

Yes, I am selling it for Krishnavamsi but I will never forget his method of handling the concept of GOD appearing before a devote in Sri Anjeneyam. For a writer, its extremely tough to dissect that thinking onto a screen and Vamsi was just a genius for those few shots. So you never know, maybe he found some talent in Tarun. Maybe he finally channeled Genelia’s exuberance into a powerful performance. But this one for sure raises my hope for a fun watch!

Synecdoche, New York – Review

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

People are boring. 

You, are boring. You get up with a foul smell in your mouth. You do stuff when people are not watching. You are confused in public and act macho in private. You are always thinking how it would be to be the guy with the girl. You sing the opera in the confines of your car. You steal glances at the price-tags and buy the unnecessary out-of-budget excess because you want to impress someone pretty who you in all mathematical probability will never ever see again.  That you escape from the ‘now’ and the ‘then’ conveniently to sing the chorus and and never the song is anything but the ultimate victory of banal surrealism that is as chronic as the ability of a man to “think” itself. Yet, inspite of all this knowing, the one constant feeling that a man cannot rid himself off , inspite of thinking this a hunderd or more times in a life time – why do I see what I see as me. Why is the “me” seeing this and not the ‘he/she’ beside me. How would it feel to see the world from his/her eyes? 

The daily clichés, the very food for everyday existence, are tailor made in this film to play out what it means to watch yourself being played by charecters who over a period of time become – well, you! The film is one huge drama, one huge set that Caden, played to expected perfection by Philip Seymour Hoffman, dreamt, designed and put life into where for years on end, the quest to perfect charecters takes place. There are roles assigned to each person who follow their “real” charecters and the director expects these charecters, over a period of time, behave the way their real conterparts behave so much so that after a while, the “charecters” do the thinking for the real people. Confusing? Aah well, you have to watch it to see what I mean. And un-surprisingly, there are very few reviews of this film for that very reason.

As expected from any Charlie Kauffman film, the movie has tons of layers, tons of subtle reflections on the parody of life. Whether you choose to see it or ignore it is totally upto you and very conveniently, it does not impact your take away from the film. In my book that is very compelling screen-writing and when it’s Kauffman, so you can’t expect anything less. But to be fair to the average viewer, the film is tad too long and very very boring in most parts. For an avid writer or a serious movie enthusist who wants to explore every frame, there is probebly more meat than the whole of the star-wars episodes but for most, one sitting is way too taxing.

Some of the most brilliant episodes in the film happen very early when the roles of Caden and his family are defined. The mediocre lives they lead is sketched in a way that is least pretentious as most movies about average families do. The bottomline when watching this is – the movie is Charlie’s most laborious work. It’s his offering to the art that he is born for. A screen-writing that comes along once in a while! It’s his temple to films like Roark’s for Human Spirit. It’s his ultimate creation of a soul to take form on a film screen. It’s his attempt to make bare the self of a human in the ways that can be put in terms of words and images. They say writers are some of the most complicated people in the world. They are because they have all these thoughts that go cross out each other all the time and to define all this in the form of a film take a lot of effort. This film is made from a litmus test of conflicting thoughts and the effort shows and speaks for itself.

Charlie Kauffman, all through the 130 mins, makes his charecters dance to what tunes play in his mind. The tornado of thoughts spiral out on to the huge set in front of him and permeates into Caden and into Hazel and into Sammy and into the guy who practices how to walk natuarally. The set-men do what they should, the light comes from where it should because inside Charlie’s mind, like my mind, like your mind my dear reader, the reality of things that we so comfortably choose to dismiss – exists, shrouded with peels of imaginative bliss that over time becomes the external us in the company of an audience that is inturn full of the same synthetic exterior that it becomes part of your, mine & charlie’s huge set – a play of constant moments of loudness that the rest of the silent actors take notice and then forget. Such is the vanity of the fame, fortune and social brightness – it all is but a moment of anticipated glory bred by years and years of longing.

Synecdoche, New York. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Watever! That’s my way for accounting for the title.

Note: The review was written in bits and drabs as the film is not easily digestable. So the commentry is random and incongruent mirroring the film.

Cutting Chai – A Friend’s Debut Film!

A dear friends debut film. He wrote and directed this. 15 days of sweat and blood for 3mins.

In his words – “Its my first effort and there are loads of mistakes and improvements to be done.
There are parts which are real tacky in between. But the entire point was to get to know the difficulties here. Well atleast i can now confidently say that i am more aware of them.
donot ask abt the plot and meaning the mov is supposed to convey, coz there is none.”

Slumdog Millionaire – Review

WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR AND POSTED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

To what lengths would you go to get an autograph from a superstar actor? What all would you be willing to jump to get close, very close – in you face close – to a star that has sold you dream after dream after dream all your life? Jump from a chopper! Fly your family from Bay Area to Chicago and pay tons of money? Swim through a sewer??? Nah… the mentioned tasks are too easy if the superstar in question is Amitabh Bachchan. And Ladies and gentleman, of all the directors who have in some form or the other paid tribute to the Greatest Star of the Millennium – let me declare – Danny Boyle topped all of them and beat them with none even close! And that’s just one shot in Slumdog Millionaire.

 

Danny Boyle’s (Train spotting) latest is a story around how a boy born in the slums of Bombay win’s his love riding on the back on his experiences from his growing-up days to answer 15 questions and convince an overworked cop that he is not cheating on the show. Nothing more to it! If you let go of the initial adrenaline of being the fortunate few to watch the film in one of the most liberal places in the world where for large diasporas, India signifies freedom and a place to find solace and happiness, then you will walk out feeling very full at the treat dished out to you.    

 

The movie is cinematic, right from the word go, and that in itself is an achievement worth bowing to for a director born in a different land. Mumbai does not exist in the film – it’s all Bombay. And a Bombay that you would have probably never seen before. The amazing interweave of colorful and lively people and the corresponding contrast of the slums makes you believe that that characters and as a natural extension, the people, are oblivious to the inhuman conditions that surround them. A mix and match of rugged goons, docile orphans, street smart kids and IndYEAH eyed foreign tourists makes Slumdog a movie full of surprises at every turn of the plot, a plot that covers every aspect of what this great city offers – religious wars, cosmetic ill-treatments, power-struggles, showmanship’s, dream-sellers, rag’s to riches poster boys, mafia don’s, super-model prostitutes, trigger-happy teens and fearless humanists. And to point out very strongly here – Boyle does not fall into the trap of Indian Sentimentality even though he does get into the mind of an avg Indian Raju very well.

 

There is just too much of good work in the movie to talk about film – AR Rahman’s back-ground score, just the way he makes you tap your feet to the unfolding visuals and not be conscious about it al all, Irrfan Khan with his characteristic non-acting acting expressions, Saurabh Shukla as the overweight short-circuited hawaldar, Mahesh Manjrekar as the Mumbai ka Don, Dev Patel as the Lover-boy and Anil Kapoor as the evil & condescending host of “Who want’s to be a Millionaire” – that they gel so well with the characters that the viewer is just mesmerized all through to notice flaws if any. And for an Indian watching a film based on India and be very comfortable is the highest grade you can give to any alien director. Especially the guts and the ease to show the bitter truths of real India without making a mockery. And especially to show how horrible Taj-Mahal actually looks in broad daylight and how horrendously dirty its surroundings are.

 

To review a movie like this, you need lofty words, words that justify the effort and the pains labored into making a film like this – touted as the costliest film made in India – a one man’s vision. The setting and the breaking-news type of screenplay make it a riveting watch with no moments to pause. Yes the lead pair looks a little dull in spots and the English dialogues don’t sound too plausible at some special weighted scenes but considering that the movie was primarily packages to cater to the west’s sensibilities of how to view India – Danny Boyle has set a bar that will be very difficult to beat. 

 

But if there is one winner to drive this movie to the very brink of Oscar’s – that’s BOMBAY! Slumdog is a movie where you will see the city like you have NEVER EVER seen before. It’s like prose from Lin Baba’s eyes from Shantaram turning to Poetry and Rangoli all at the same time. The sadness, the apathy of the residents, the acrimonious nature of the harsh truth’s of life, the relentless mockery of life towards the under-privileged and the gifted alike, just blown to insignificant particles before the power that the city is – and the way it was all captured by Anthony Dod through his camerawork or more rightly cameras work – is nothing short of pure chilling genius.  Bombay never looked so right before… all the reams of paper eulogizing it have found the right visuals now, hence allowed to settle in comfort of obscurity. Slumdog Millionaire will carry the baton for a significant time from now. 

Dreams: Script writing on the trip!

WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

If you look back at cinema from its inception, one of the most workable justifications for playing out something totally outrageous and uncanny was to just make the protagonist DREAM. In the case of Indian Cinema, due to the lack of breath taking vista’s in the vicinity of the slums that our protagonist lives, and due to the inability of our maker’s to dream the least, the scenario plays out very well to justify dancing in the woods of Europe and we are left with staring at the botany showcase of the region’s flora. But to make a point – DREAM’s actually give the writers some of the most exciting prospects to put their creativity to best use and come-up with something that totally knock’s the wind out of the viewer. 

I was recently listening to Charlie Kauffman on National Public Radio (like All India Radio), who happens to be in my top three scriptwriter’s that I have read (the other’s being Aaron Sorkin & Woody Allen – in that order) where he takes on the subject of dreams and justifies/attributes it some of the most incredible idea’s of his over the past decade of his work. In Adaptation – the concept of writing a writer who is trying to write a script about a writer trying to write – so simple yet so tremendously difficult, Charlie says, is a product of his dreams. How otherwise would you think up of stuff? Ok, you go to bed with some half formed thoughts but deep in sub-conscious state, the churnings of the brain take those half-baked idea’s and take then through a ride – a ride that you so often wish you can capture, but you just can’t. Well, if your Charlie Kauffman maybe! 

One example I would like to give here – How many of you regular PFC author’s or to that matter cine-buff’s who after catching a late show the night before – wake up with a start the next day morning with some concrete idea on how to say what you feel on that white screen in front of you? You know what you are going to say because your sub-conscious mind has digested the cinema and it all becomes so clear to you as to what it all meant but try putting it down on a piece of paper and you hit a dead wall! 

Going back to Charlie, another example is Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind that he so brilliantly wrote. The basic premise there again is to successfully get rid of Clementine’s (Kate Winslet) thought’s, Joel (Jim Carrey – wasn’t he SUPERB!) has to erase everything belonging to her physically from his surroundings so that the deep-subconscious does not get triggered due to it’s association – again – the physician’s explained there was that dreams could still trigger deep emotional feelings that the normal conscious would not. 

So, what’s the deal with dreams? Why are they so vivid at times, yet so bizarre that on some days you just think about how could such a thing be? My friend tells me she has recurring dreams of her floating in the air like that shot from “The Big Lebowlski” where when he get’s knocked out, he just floats in the sunshine. The fact still remains that some of the most creative ideas that you would probably have had in one’s life have had their metamorphosis in one’s dreams as total abstractions that initially make one question the very plausibility of such incidents – but in the end, it makes, so much sense! Or at least for me it does. 

As someone who has been struggling for the past 6 month’s to complete my first story, there are day’s when I just fall asleep on the ride back from work where a part that I am struck unravels in front of my eyes, with such congruence to what I am thinking that it seems so right but when I try to interpret them, they just don’t make no sense. It’s like a constant battle between Angels and Demon’s in my head where the Angels rule the world of sleep and the demon’s, possibly influenced by everything materialistic, just overpower the Angles to rule what I write. Is it due to my incapability to draw what my brain could come-up with, or should these just be inner personal thoughts – like inner entertainment for those 6-8hrs of sleep. 

An argument that could be made here is story-telling is nothing but a much emancipated form of putting words to fantasies that one has to enchant the audience. Yes, great fantasies are amazing stories and I for one digg anything that is supremely fantasized but from Comic Books to absolute goblin thrillers, there is a certain baseline to imagination – they are made believable, like the way Roy Walker (Lee Pace) tells Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) the story of the 5 hero’s in “The Fall” to extract his own revenge on the Star who steals his Girl. Brilliant Visuals and absolute classic interweaving of time-period’s, but at some level believable. But take Donnie Darko, the man with the bunny costume, the jet engine crashing, the prophecy – that’s interpretation of dreams very well told.

 I am sure most of you who are reading this have had numerous dreams that just defied every societal demon in your head. Extreme danger, wild rides, grossly exaggerated behavior of one’s self – these are just a few scenarios’ in the whole web of imaginative trip that your mind takes you every time you close your eyes, which just leaves with this one belief that every individual only needs to posses the power to interpret one’s dreams – if one chooses to become a creative fiction writer – as only a sleeping mind can take you to places that waking life would just not comprehend.

Mumbai Cutting – Review

WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSION FOR CINEMA

A city that tells thousands of stories each day, a city that weaves the magic for a million people everyday and a city that creates as much as it destroys each day – it was logical that something would pay tribute to its various layers and shades in typical Bollywood fashion but with a hint of betrayal – replace the glitz and the pseudonyms with gleams of passion and realism.

Sitting in Arch lights for the closing gala, I had but one apprehension – will the collective genius of al those makers fail the intelligent and glamor seeking audience in the congregation – c’on, the pick of junta there was either uber rich or over eager in their own endeavors…

Promod Bhai…23: Anurag Kashyap

What a find! The kid playing the protagonist is a true find. If Darsheel floored you with his dreamy look, watch one sequence in this short where the boy’s classmate mocks him for lying excessively – that one log shot from the POV of Promod Bhai… continuous taunts… glaring look… the subtle yet powerful stance of defiance to hold himself… what a shot!

The short did not work for me… Knowing Anurag, I guess I have too much of expectation but brilliant is a lesser word… The problem with great scripts, especially when a lot of mathematics is involved and you know the string puller is a genius is you work out the math… A random character does not quite make sense and for someone who is adept and understanding the common game of “inserting randomness”, the plot is crystal clear. And you are talking about Anurag… Fabulous timing to end the shot… I shall dare to speak again after the release.

Mumbai Bombay Same Shit: Rahul Dolakhia

For me, this short stood out. It’s brazen, arrogant and in your face. It will make you say all that you ever wanted to about the city but hold on… this short says it all. Jimmy’s talent as an actor was never questioned… especially when he plays a rich spoilt brat that he should actually be but is not. The conflict and intervening of lust among all the classes is a subject so well depicted that for 10mins you feel – dyamm, is it Indian Cinema. For all the naysayers who cower in front of 21st century take on Bombay, eat this!

The Ball: Sudhir Mishra

Sudhir is an intimidating persona. A sound bite to make it interesting, when said this to his face by PFC’s OM on his appearance, he replies “It is your insecurity young man!”. So actually not discussing his short helped because what may have been is making me remember the short very vividly. A small boy’s quest to nab a ball from the hands of a murdered man. Simple premise… a guy on the bike whirls on the screen and the next whirls you too…

Who is Soha? Lover perhaps? Who knows… but the memory of a dead man is till he is in front of you – atleast in Mumbai he is…

Parcel: Revathy

The only preachy short. Suited to Mumbai – not really, it talks about any other city too. I could relate it to Hyderabad a lot… human trafficking… brilliant ending though… the urge to give up is too tempting in the face of adversary… Vinay Pathak’s dialogues looked forced to me but Revathy smiled and we spoke for a while so I care less now… I was star-struck by her simplicity… Take a bow maam!

Anjaane Dost: Jahnu barua

His short spoke of age and experience. He choose a subject that is so true and the antagonist was me, word for word. Conflict of the young and old told through the 70’s cinema line of tender being missed by an aged employee only to be fired when makes a comeback with vengeance. Simple, effective, common man’s anxiety and dilemma explored with finesse… Jahnu Barua, try watching his work. As Sudhir Mishra put it, Indian Cinema is incomplete without him.

Rituparno Ghosh: Urge – My fav short

101 to short film making. Brilliant pauses, crisp transition, regulated repeats and coherent story telling. Four stories of people begging for last chance. Remember that last math problem that you need to pass the exam and when you said” please god, just this one and I will study like hell, only that you din’t. Remember the first time you wanted to be kissed and when you prayed that you will never want it again(at least to the girl that’s what you said)… dud! 4 realistic stories… Ranvir – Brilliant as ever.

Shashank Ghosh:

Middle Class… the class that defines India makes kids do the following: Be an engineer, slog to be a doctor or teach them to aim to be a govt servant… but all the kids want to do just two things… Be Cricket Stars or Act in films…

A sentiment as straight forward as this is approached through a family as diverse yet common place as the one assembled… a rich bahu who holds the family together, a dutiful elder son who works 6days to feed the family, a brat of a younger son with girlfriends and dreams, a mother who fusses and a father who is oblivious… All in all a family drama that reminds all of Hum Log… Perfect to the spec! Watch this… its will make the old and better Hindi / Telugu soaps alive…

Kundan Shah –The Train Journey.

There is a reason why the entire IFFLA portico stood up when the man walked in. There is a reason why people walk behind him or stand behind him, people who are worthy of their actions and not words… people at IFFLA who bow to him and behave… not Bollywood but directors of the caliber who are invited to make momentous films. Mr. Kundan Shah is one. Would it be great if he made a mind-blowing comedy… or a serious educative and punitive people’s drama… he chose the most familiar aspect of Mumbai… the trains and made a monologue that is an art that is being passed on for third rate acting! Hilarious, funny and at times introspective… its difficult to sit through it… I could see most in the theatre leaving for a break… the narrative doesn’t pause… I am a nobody to critique the man’s work but sir, using posters to tell a story and recreate scenes was such a fun to watch… Hats off!

Jo Palta Woh Rickshaw Nahin: Ruchi narin

Aah… very apt portrayal of when you say I am bindass in a city and when you don’t. A breezy short… a breezy narrative. I may have missed something in it or perhaps I am over digressing but the short speaks volumes of how a small encounter can change a city that a person loves all his/her life.

All in all the approach to the making of Mumbai Cutting works for me. A land that does not recognize anything without a Sir-name actor/director/producer/dancer/fight-master/spot boy and coffee table talk show host – this method to integrate creativity in parts does make me want to come to theaters. Most will disagree and I stayed away from talking/digressing about the films with the directors afterwards, maybe that’s what I love the film so much but what’s harm I ask? All right some shorts had shortcomings as agreed by a world-class director at the venue but who cares when such genius are back in at least small amounts to work freely when millions are poured on fakes who rape the art form of film-making with family prejudices and regional bias.

P.S: I missed the QnA ( both formal and PFC’s informal ) but then, I would not write what I did above if I would have spoken to the makers. I missed a few shorts as I don’t remember them but all in all – Watch this!